A delegation from Syria led by Minister of Economy and Foreign Trade Mohammad Samer al-Khalil has arrived in the annexed Crimea to participate in the Yalta International Economic Forum. The delegation was met at the airport by the Kremlin-appointed head of the Crimea, Sergei Aksyonov. The Crimea Inform News Agency reports that the delegation consists of seventy people.
"Our priority task is the development of economic and trade relations to link Syria and Russia at the same level as the political relations that now exist between our countries. This includes both an increase in bilateral trade turnover and an increase in the volume of investments. Proceeding from this, we consider our participation in the Yalta forum to be an excellent opportunity to establish working contacts for the realization of this goal,” Samer al-Khalil told Crimea Inform.
Aksyonov also said that the Syrian city of Latakia and the Ukrainian City of Yalta would conclude an agreement to become sister cities. The agreement will be signed within the framework of the Yalta Forum.
"The Crimea, as a subject of the Russian Federation, will actively participate in expanding cooperation with the Syrian Arab Republic. I am confident that the visit is of great political importance, and that after communication at the forum, we will also have economic contacts,” Aksenov said.
The fourth Yalta International Economic Forum will be held from April 19-21, 2018. On February 3, Russian media reported that German politicians from three regional parliaments, all affiliated with the Alternative for Germany party, had arrived in the Crimea.
Russian authorities for the Crimean peninsula are trying to legalize its annexation by inviting foreign citizens to the territory.
The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry constantly calls on foreigners and stateless persons to enter the Russian-annexed Crimea only in accordance with Ukrainian and international law.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine has also previously stated that trips by foreign dignitaries to the Crimea do not have official status.